Part 3: Deciding Whether or Not to Customize PTC Arbortext

In the last few weeks I’ve discussed the benefits and costs of customization. This week I will review deciding whether to customize or not. If you missed these posts, you can read them here:

So how can you weigh the benefits against the costs of customizing? If we examine the criteria outlined above, a general pattern emerges, which provides the key insight in making this decision:

Benefits mainly go to end users, and costs mainly go to developers and administrators.

Installations with large user bases, where the value of customizations can be maximized, are good candidates for customization. Also, organizations that have dedicated staff for maintaining the Arbortext system will have an easier time managing customized installations than organizations where maintenance and development is a part-time task for staff with other responsibilities.

In organizations that have a small number of users, it will be difficult to realize enough value in customizations to make it worth the expense of implementing them. In these instances, it makes sense to stick with a mostly out-of-the-box installation using a standard doctype like DITA or DocBook, possibly with some stylesheet adjustments to get the desired output appearance.

Consider standard features first.

With all software, you can get the most value from your investment if you maximize the use of its standard features. If you are new to the software or perhaps not leveraging everything the software offers, you should explore the best practices and benefits first to determine if customization is truly needed. With Arbortext, PTC recommends an implementation approach called “Value-ready Deployment” which leverages the value of Arbortext using standard features and recommended best practices to maximize the value to each customer before any customizations are made.

Also consider prepackaged add-ons.

EAC offers several prepackaged add-ons which add capabilities to the Arbortext platform at a lower cost than a customization. One of our add-ons is EAC QuickPubs.

QuickPubs allows users to create aesthetically pleasing Operator Guides, Service Manuals, and Parts Catalogs quickly while providing an easy way to style documents that fit your brand. If you decide to investigate customizing Arbortext for your environment, EAC can help you explore your options with a variety of prepackaged add-ons, training, and implementation services.

Transform the way you design and publish product information through QuickPubs, an EAC product for PTC Arbortext. For more information about QuickPubs, you can download the brochure here. Publish faster, cheaper, and better today!

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